The Top 10 Best Business Incubators in South Africa

The Best Business Incubator Programs in South Africa

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In this guide, we will take you through all you need to know about business incubator programs in South Africa, as well as the top ten business incubators in South Africa which could help you reach those business goals.

It is common knowledge – and the stats support – that most new businesses do not make it through their first 2 years in business. In South Africa, it is apparent that newly founded startups need all the help they can get to survive their cutthroat industries and disruptive markets. Business incubation exists to even the odds, where your business can benefit from expert mentorship, support and advice to help you through those early stages of any business.

Business incubators and business accelerators provide advice, guidance, and various forms of support for businesses in the start-up phase. This extends to office space, learning programs, financial support and more. In the business sector, there is however a blurred understanding of these concepts, many thinking they are similar or even the same.

The key difference between them is that business accelerators, as the name suggests, operate as a type of boot camp – an intense, compressed program designed to rapidly build companies. They are shorter programs (usually 6 weeks to 6 months) designed for existing companies to “accelerate” their business growth, pivot, test and innovate quickly. On the other hand, business incubators support the business in its start-up phase, typically when the business has little to no traction, customers or an established business model. They are longer development programs, typically 6 months to 3 years, allowing the business to grow from seed to fullly functional company. Both usually culminate in a day where founders can pitch their companies to investors for potential business finance in South Africa. Most accelerators require founders to part with equity in their businesses, in exchange for entry into the program. Incubators can be accessed for a fee, or fully subsidized if offered by public or non-profit entities.

Various benefits are associated with incubator programs in South Africa. Businesses benefit from networking opportunities, low-cost office space, mentoring, professional counseling, and contacts with other entrepreneurs in South Africa that provide a stimulating environment for growth. This growth is at a gradual pace, allowing the business in the incubation program to grow at its own pace. Sponsors of incubation programs for South African businesses, especially, see the benefit of developing successful businesses that will bring further employment to an area and contribute to local economic growth. Accelerators also boast various benefits to the business with the main benefit in reducing the time to market, with rapid growth and successful product launch. Companies that use business accelerators are typically start-ups that have moved beyond the earliest stages of getting established, unlike companies still in incubation.

A Definitive Guide to the Best Business Incubators in South Africa:

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1. Raizcorp

Raizcorp works with entrepreneurs at all stages of their life cycles to promote and help them to build their business ecosystem. They focus on executing enterprise and supplier development programs on behalf of companies. They train corporate leadership teams, and sales teams to improve entrepreneurial thinkers. Raizcorp provide curated equity to entrepreneurs who are scaling their businesses, and support government and developmental agencies to set up entrepreneurial infrastructure across the country. Raizcorp is well recognized for being one of the most successful incubator programs in South Africa.

timbali business incubator in South Africa - getlion business app

2. Timbali Technology Incubator

Timbali Technology Incubator connects low-skilled, young, inexperienced, and unemployed individuals to establish markets using their incubation product supply chain. As a non-profit organization, they provide business development services including business management, accounting and sales.

awethu business incubator in south africa - getlion

3. The Awethu Project

The Awethu Project incubator aims to help grow your business. They have worked with thousands of micro-businesses throughout South Africa and have packed all the lessons they have learned into their incubator. Their focus lies with developing young entrepreneurial South Africans who have never had access to systematic opportunity.

4. Spark South Africa

Spark South Africa is an incubator focusing on start-ups that are changing lives, specifically of those in poverty ridden communities. This incubator offers an accelerator process where they strengthen your business model. After the accelerator, they provide free services and infrastructure support, with the potential to access larger support and funding to grow your venture.

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5. Black Umbrellas

Black Umbrellas is an enterprise development incubation organisation partnering with the private sector, government, and civil society to address the low levels of entrepreneurship and the high failure rate of 100% black-owned emerging businesses. The program focuses on promoting entrepreneurship as a desirable economic path and nurturing 100% black-owned businesses in the critical first three years of their existence through the provision of nationwide incubators.

6. Tshimologong Precinct

Tshimologong is an incubator for digital entrepreneurs, commercialisation of research, and the development of high-level digital skills for students, working professionals and unemployed youth. The precinct boasts a state-of-the-art Skills Development Academy, where software, digital and technology industry skills are promoted.

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7. Seda

The Small Enterprise Development Agency provides business development and support services for small enterprises using its national network and partnerships. Seda also implements programs focused on business development in areas the government has prioritized. This incubator aims to strengthen technology commercialisation and harness the entrepreneurship of the South African technology community.

In South Africa, numerous incubation programs could assist you in guiding your business through the rough seas of early business. These include 51 technology-based business incubators, 10 enterprise supplier development, and 14 rapid youth incubators. Do any of these business incubators seem like they can assist your business?

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8. LaunchLab

The LaunchLab takes entrepreneurs through the process of building a proven business, from endorsing your concept to proving your business model in your market. This incubator is focused on entrepreneurs themselves and helping them to build a feasible business through coaching and mentorship programs, with a strong focus on tech-enabled solutions.

grindstone business incubator - South Africa - getlion

9. Grindstone

More of an accelerator than an incubator, Cape Town-based Grindstone – operated by Knife Capital – assists high-growth innovation-driven businesses to become sustainable and fundable. Grindstone typically supplies 10 businesses annually with knowledge, networks, and funding readiness by offering growth measurements, gap analysis, and deep interventions.

Startupbootcamp AfriTech - Business Incubator - South Africa - getlion

10. Startupbootcamp Afritech

Startupbootcamp AfriTech is also more of an accelerator, focusing on high-growth startups in blockchain, connected devices, payment solutions, capital markets, asset management, integrated supply chain, e-commerce, retail technology, alternative financing, identity management, digital connectivity, data, and behavioral analytics. Based in Cape Town this incubator offers world class mentoring programs and investment opportunities.

We hope the above has given you an introduction to business development programs that can support your business. Incubator and accelerator programs – because of their benefits – are highly competitive to get in to. That’s why we built getlion, (one of the best business apps in 2020) the mobile application that can assist you many facets of your business and best practices to increase your chance of success. Also – we do partner with various business incubators in South Africa – and you can use the getlion app to apply directly. Download the getlion application for free on Android and IOS stores today!